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For eternal memory
Of the holy communities
Of Halmeu-Turcz
And the District
That were destroyed in the Holocaust

Collected and edited by:
Yehuda Schwartz
The principal of the memorializing school

The perpetuation of the holy communities of Halmeu-Turcz and the District
By the Yavneh Mamlachti Dati School, Givat Olga, Hadera

Published by the Circle of Natives of Halmeu Turcz and the District
Tel Aviv, 22 Yavneh Street. Telephone 611660


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Foreword

By Menachem Carmi

With the publication of this Memorial Book of the martyrs of Halmeu, I feel a pleasant obligation to hereby express our esteem and recognition to our friend, the editor of the book, Reb Yehuda Schwartz, the principal of the Mamlachti Dati[1] Yavneh School in Givat Olga, Hadera.

Yehuda Schwartz is the only son of a poor, honorable family of Halmeu. The father earned his livelihood from the toil of his hands. He was a tailor, and made efforts to give his son a Torah oriented religious education, which at that time was fraught with great expenditures. Yehuda studied in cheder with the finest teachers. Later, he studied in the primary school, and then in Yeshiva, where he excelled as an expert student under the rabbi and Gaon Rabbi Yaakov Shalom of holy blessed memory. His parents loved him and took pride in him and his talents, including in the area of art.

In order to advance further in his studies in a manner appropriate to his talents, he left Halmeu and moved to Nagybánya where he continued in the high level Yeshiva of Rabbi Dr. Kraus, and also gained high level education. With his great thirst to continue his education in Torah and general knowledge, he moved to the Transylvanian capital of Klausenberg[2], a city of scholars and maskilim, with high level schools and universities. There, he continued to study in Yeshiva under his own initiative. He later earned his livelihood from teaching the Hebrew Language and prepared himself with the clear goal of aliya to the Land.

After taking an active role in the Torah Vaavoda movement in the city, he became the chairman of the movement that numbered hundreds of members, and a member of the national secretariat in Arad. He helped to establish the frameworks for preparing the pioneering youth for aliya to the Land of Israel, and directed widespread cultural activities in the city.

As a teacher of the Hebrew language and religion in the Jewish high school and the primary school of the community of Klausenberg, he won over people to religious Zionism.

Between 1940 and 1942, when the Jewish persecutions reached their peak, Yehuda was drafted to a labor camp in Ukraine. His wife, daughter, and parents were transferred to the Selish[3] Ghetto and from there to Auschwitz, where they gave their lives in the sanctification of the Divine Name along with the rest of the martyrs of Halmeu.

After four years of suffering and torture, he returned to Klausenberg from Ukraine and became involved in the reorganizing of religious and social life in the city. He assisted in setting up the Tarbut Hebrew School and the primary school of the Jewish community, in while he served as a teacher, educator, and preacher for aliya. He married

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a Halmeu native, and succeeded in making aliya to the Land in 1951.

In Israel, he dedicated himself with greater strength to the education of children as a teacher in the Mizrachi school, at first in Beit Shean and later in Hadera. He was appointed as the principal of the Mamlachti Dati Yavneh School in Givat Olga. Through his successful efforts, his school is one of the largest in the district. Approximately 600 students study in 18 classes.

Reb Yehuda Schwartz is one of the important activists and promoters of action in our organization. On the memorial days every year, he succeeded in arousing the participants with his stories so that they would not forget the rock from which we were hewn and what we endured making it appropriate to memorialize our martyrs. He always emphasized the importance of memorializing and in transmitting the knowledge of the Holocaust to the young generation.

With the establishment by the Ministry of Education of the National Council for the Perpetuation by Schools of Jewish Communities that Were Destroyed in the Holocaust, Reb Yehuda took hold of this important idea and decided, along with his teaching staff and students, to perpetuate our communities of Halmeu and Klausenberg by the school at which he was principal. From that time, the matter found no rest with him, and he dedicated all of his free time to this holy goal.

Immediately after the publication of the memorial book of the community of Klausenberg, which met with great success and national acclaim by positive reviews in the newspapers and communal and government institutions, he enthusiastically entered into the task of publishing the memorial book for the community of Halmeu. He got in touch with the main institutions of perpetuation at Yad Vashem. He gathered material for the writing of the book. He researched, looked into the sources, and entered into contact with the natives of our town who would be able to give of the fruit of their pens to the perpetuation of this holy community.

There is no doubt that were it not for our friend Schwartz, we would not have imagined that we would have been able to conceive of and actually publish this memorial book, and we would not have been able to instill the memory of our martyrs in the hearts of our sons and daughters, and to transmit the eternal values that were left to us by that holy community to the young generation.

With the publication of this memorial book, in the form of a documentary anthology, it is our desire to set up a memorial monument for the benefit of the survivors of our town and their heirs, and to deepen the connection between our children and the martyrs of the Holocaust.

For this sublime and blessed deed that was conducted with no intention of receiving a reward, I hereby bless the editor of the book, Reb Yehuda Schwartz, in my name and in the name of all the natives of our town, that just as he has bestowed us with a valuable book, an eternal memorial to the holy community of Halmeu and has wished us success through the works of his hands - so may G-d grant him the ability to benefit the public by publishing other books, and by continuing to educate a blessed, righteous generation;, and may the merit of the martyrs of Halmeu stand in good stead for him and his family.

Menachem Carmi (Traub)
Chairman of the Organization of Natives of Halmeu Turcz and the District


Translator's Footnotes

  1. The term in Israel for a Public Religious School.Return
  2. Hungarian Kolosvár; Romanian: Cluj-NapocaReturn
  3. Selish is currently known as Vynohradiv in the Transcarpathian area of Ukraine (formerly Transcarpathian Ruthenia). See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vynohradiv .Return


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Introduction

By Yehuda Schwartz

Jewish Halmeu was an important city for Jewry, well-known for its rabbis, Gaonim, Torah giants pure and upright Jews who were pious and people of good deeds, for its Torah and benevolent institutions, and especially for its large Yeshiva with its myriads of students. This holy city once was and is no more, for destruction overtook it.

The memory of this community is precious to many, to whom the city is like one of the many towns of pre-war Transylvania with its special characteristics of vibrant and pleasant Jewish life in the world of yesteryear that has passed and will not return. It is especially precious to those connected to the community of Halmeu, whether they were raised in its midst and breathed its air until its last days, or whether they left it in their youth and wandered afar. A common feeling unites them all with the desire to perpetuate the memory of the community.

Our purpose in this memorial book is to present the memory of this holy community with its precious personalities of its holy and righteous rabbis, its believers and followers of Torah, its common folk and laborers; to kindle an eternal light for the coming generations, and to draw the hearts of our children toward this splendid community. We wish to give a mark of honor to the valiant Jews whose survival and aliya to the Israel were fraught with miracles and wonders that took place with them as they went to meet the fire of the enemy.

We wish to give the perpetuating school and students a summary survey of the community, its personalities and institutions, to transmit them its eternal values, to give over the will of the destroyed community, the community to which we were tied by heart, soul, body and spirit, in which those nearest and dearest to us lived, suffered, and were murdered in sanctification of the Divine Name - so that we, our children, and grandchildren will know and bear the memory of the martyrs forever. In this way, we will continue to walk in their paths.

These articles are a memorial in words for the martyrs who fell, and a testimony of the bravery of those who remained alive.

Yehuda Schwartz
Av, 5728, July 1968


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Scroll of Remembrance:
Representatives of the communities and the classes

Written on Kosher Parchment by a Torah Scribe

We, the student representatives of grades 7 and 8 of the Mamlachti Dati Yavneh School

Of Givat Olga Gimel, Hadera

Certify here that we are prepared to take upon ourselves the holy task of perpetuating the holy communities of Koloszvar-Klausenberg and Halmeu that were destroyed during the time of the Holocaust during the Nazi occupation of Transylvania

 
Representatives of the Communities Representatives of the Classes
David Mozes, Chairman of the Organization of Kolosvar Natives
Dr. Esther Weisberg
Students of Grade 7
Shoshana Biton
Bat-Sheva Meir
Menahem Carmi, Chairman of the Organization of Halmeu Natives
Malka Schwartz
Engineer Aharon Elbaum
Shlomo Zimrony
Leah Stern
Aliza Friedman
Students of Grade 8
Shoshana Azulai
Herzl Tzionit

[Unnumbered page after 4]

 

From the Memorial Ceremony

 

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About the Memorial Ceremony
Commemorating the Communities of Koloszvar and Halmeu by our School

On the 28th of Adar II, 5727 (1967), a memorial ceremony for the communities of Koloszvar-Klausenberg and Halmeu took place in our school. The students of the upper grades, wearing white shirts, gathered in the dining hall and made their way to the event by greeting the guests and representatives of the institutions.

The yard was decorated with national flags and inscriptions of Yizkor[1]. Next to the flag that was lowered to half mast, the students affixed blue and white bands on the clothing of the guests, as well as the insignia of the two communities.

The school flag and a map of Europe hung on the wall next to the decorated stage. The number of victims of each country was noted on the map, with the heading on top, “Remember and do not forget.” The Holocaust-style Yellow Star, the sign of the ghetto, was affixed to the shirts of the participants.

The ceremony opened with the lighting of six memorial candles, one candle for a million souls, as each student recited their verse accompanied by a violin played by the teacher David Brody. The principal Mr. Yehuda Schwartz described the roles of the students as they accepted upon themselves the eternal values that were imparted to us by the residents of the communities of Koloszvar-Klausenberg and Halmeu that the school took it upon itself to memorialize.

The period of the Holocaust was acted out by the Grade 4 girls, under the direction of the educator Malka Avital, with a great deal of artistic power that moved the hearts to the point that tears flowed from the eyes of both the invited guests and the students.

The choir sang verses of Psalms, songs of the ghetto, and songs of the partisans accompanied by a flute, under the direction of the teacher advisor Tova Nik, and under the successful conductorship of the educator Eliahu Edrei. The songs and music penetrated the depths of the soul.

The head of the rabbinical office of Hadera, Rabbi David Werner may he live long; the vice mayor of the city Mordechai Kostlitz; and Shlomo Zimroni and Menachem Carmi, representatives of the communities of Koloszvar-Klausenberg and Halmeu, spoke with sorrow and agony about the atrocities of that era, and presented the lives of those communities that were suffused with love of one's fellowman, love of Torah, and love of Israel.

Mr. Tzvi Halevi of the teachers union, Mr. Turen of Yad Vashem, and the engineer Simcha Vida - the head of the organization of natives of Hungary spoke about the goals of the gathering and the great benefit of memorializing the communities by the schools.

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After a student from grade 8 read the scroll of memory, the representatives of the classes and the communities were invited to sign it. A telegram that arrived from the legal advisor of the government and the prosecutor of the Eichmann trial, Member of Knesset Gideon Hausner, was read, and the very impressive ceremony concluded with the singing of Ani Maamin and Hatikva.

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Remember and do not forget!
Children of the Yavneh School at the memorial ceremony

Translator's Footnotes

  1. The term literally means: May He (i.e. G-d) remember, and is the name and first word of the memorial prayer recited on various festivals. In the broader sense, the term has come to refer to a generalize memorializing of martyrs (Hence the term “Yizkor Book”.)Return


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The following is the content of the letter
of the Chairman of the Organization of Halmeu Natives

Mr. Menachem Carmi to the school.

The organization of natives of Halmeu-Turcz and the District
22 Yavneh Street, Tel Aviv. Telephone 611660

Blessed be G-d, Wednesday, 7 Iyar 5627. May 17, 1967.

To the Mamlachti Dati Yavneh School
Givat Olga

Regarding: Memorializing the communities of Klausenberg and Halmeu

First, I would like to thank you for the booklet that you sent me and for the wonderful work that you did. May the work of your hand be blessed. Such deeds belong to the category of spiritual pursuits that are performed with no expectation of reward, and many of us do not know how to appreciate them. If some of us are capable of doing so, we may be unable to free ourselves from the mundane day-to-day lives and turn to such honorable spiritual tasks. Therefore, the value of your work is of double and manifold value.

It is a great honor for me to thank you, the school, the teachers, the students, and all who participated in the memorializing of the communities of Halmeu and Klausenberg, in memory of our martyrs who were murdered by the Nazis.

I thank you in my name and in the name of the Holocaust survivors of Halmeu. I especially hold in esteem the teachers and participants who did not know our community, and perhaps never even heard of its existence prior to now. Nevertheless, they took upon themselves all the effort that many of the natives of our community did not.

May G-d reward you for your thoughts and deeds that are completely pure, and may you succeed in the paths that you choose.

  Wishing you success with the help of G-d,

With great respect,
Chairman of the Committee of the Community of Halmeu
Menachem Carmi

The Organization of Natives of Halmeu and the District in Israel


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Section of the song by Y. L. Bialer
that was recited by the students before the lighting of the six memorial candles,
accompanied by the violin, to the tune of “The Town is burning”
[1]

By Y. L. Bialer

My G-d, My G-d[2]

My G-d, my G-d, my soul weeps
And cry out, daughter of Israel,
Raise a cry and a lament
For a fire has consumed in Israel.

For the destroyed communities,
And for the destruction of the sanctuaries of G-d
Gone up in fiery flames
The cities of the glory of Israel.

For the babes, weaned from breast,
Split upon the rocks
And for their blood that flowed
In public, before the eyes of their parents.

Woe about the train cars, cramped with people,
Spread with sulfur and pitch,
Those parched with thirst, as their souls departed,
Shouted for water, but nobody gave.

Woe about those frozen on the snowy fields,
Young children in the bosom of their mothers
And on the martyrs who shout out
Buried alive in pits.

Woe for the righteous tortured in this world
The princes of the nation who toil in Torah
All were suffocated in the gas chambers
The menorah fell and was extinguished.

Woe about the martyrdom to G-d and the nation
And the revenge of the blood of the martyrs
With strength they gave up their souls
They fought and fell the deaths of the brave.

(Repeat the first stanza.)

Translator's Footnotes

  1. This refers to the well-known Yiddish song Es Brent by Mordechai Gebirtig. See http://www.hebrewsongs.com/song-esbrent.htm and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjW4JgZPZToReturn
  2. I have taken this translation of selected verses from my translation of the full song in the Podhajce Yizkor Book. See http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/podhajce/pod175.html . The version in the Halmeu book does not include all the verses, and some verses are not in order. The second last verse in the Halmeu version is not in the Podhajce version. A full official version in Hebrew can be found here: http://www.piyut.org.il/textual/english/329.html .Return

[Unnumbered page following 8]

 

Remember
From the words of eulogy

 


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Address of the School Principal,
Mr. Yehuda Schwartz

With trepidation and trembling, we present today the memory of the holy communities, including Koloszvar-Klausenberg and Halmeu, which the school took upon itself to memorialize through the initiative of the teachers organization and Yad Vashem, and with the help of the city hall and the organization of Hungarian natives. Through this, you, dear students, will learn to appreciate the Torah institutions, the special people and people of spirit who directed its way of life. This was a community that once was and is no longer.

When we returned there immediately after the Holocaust, we found complete destruction. We passed over bodies, burnt parchment with letters floating[1]. Streets, every corner of which had been immersed with Torah and fundamental Judaism, were now destroyed. The sanctuaries were abandoned and are empty of people. We thereby reached the conclusion that the city was no longer our city, for how could we set up and build a new life on a strange land? We decided to make aliya to Israel to build it up and be built up by it.

Our martyrs were murdered. However, only their bodies were destroyed. Their spirit exists. They live among us, and we will succeed in transmitting to the young generation the eternal values that the people of Koloszvar-Klausenberg and Halmeu imparted to us. You as well, the students, will continue in their splendid tradition. That way, Koloszvar-Klausenberg and Halmeu will not be forgotten. We hope that we will be faithful transmitters for the sake of the Torah, the nation, and the Land, just as the people of Koloszvar-Klausenberg and Halmeu began and continued. Let this be a small comfort for the few survivors who remained alive. Amen, and may it be His will.

Translator's Footnote

  1. A Talmudic reference to a burning Torah scroll, where a vision was seen of parchment burning, but the letters floating heavenward. See http://m.chabad.org/calendar/view/day_cdo/aid/291625/jewish/R-Chananya-ben-Tradyon-Killed.htmReturn


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Words of Eulogy of the rabbi of the city,
the Rabbi and Gaon Rabbi David Werner, may he live long

The Holy One Blessed Be He dulled our senses and sealed the source of our tears. Given that our sages have decreed that one must not drink wine or eat meat on account of the destruction of the Temple, and they even considered banning bread, for bread was used to offer meal offerings in the Holy Temple; it would make sense that they should decree regarding the tragedy of our nation in our day something over and above that which was decreed for the destruction of the Temple. Perhaps, we should not drink or eat anything at all.

There has never before been such a disaster. G-d acted mercifully in dulling our senses. All the dirges that have been recited to this day do not begin to express the magnitude of the tragedy and the disaster of our era. Darkness fell upon the world - darkness that could be felt[1]; but that darkness contains light, light that touched us. If we were still inclined to think that we could live in peace with the “people of culture,” people of science and intelligence, that light illuminated the evil of the haters of Israel and what they planned to perpetrate. This Holocaust came and poured out light, a great light, and taught us to recognize the cruelty and unremitting hatred of all haters of Israel.

The sole recommendation and conclusion is to fortify ourselves in our independent state; to fortify ourselves, strengthen ourselves, and continue the traditions with which those Jewish communities educated us. Dear children, you were certainly told and you certainly know that there were a million children like you, school children who attended Talmud Torahs and perhaps studied even better than you, learning day and night in that selfsame Klausenberg, in that selfsame Halmeu, where there were study halls full of adults and children who occupied themselves day and night with Torah, prophets, and Talmud with wondrous diligence and devotion - they saw their entire fortune in the study of Torah and wisdom, and in following the path of Torah and the commandments.

Today, one of our hands is obligated to take hold of the dagger and defend the borders of Israel. However, our hand must not let go of the rich, pleasant tradition that the communities of Israel in the Diaspora imparted to us. This is the deepest memorial that is within our power to carry out.

We will continue to live, to build, and to develop our Land in the light of those values with which they lived.

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The rabbi of the city, the Rabbi and Gaon Rabbi David Werner may
he live, bring a greeting from the office of the rabbinate of Hadera
  Yehuda Schwartz, the principal of the school,
opens the memorial ceremony
 
 
Mordechai Kostlitz, the vice mayor,
brings greetings from the Hadera city council
  Menachem Carmi brings greetings from the
organization of the natives of Halmeu Turcz and the Region

Translator's Footnote

  1. A reference to the plague of darkness at the time of the Exodus.Return


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Address of the Deputy Mayor of Hadera,
Mr. Mordechai Kostlitz

We are gathered here in your school in order to memorialize and perpetuate the memory of the communities and martyrs of Koloszvar and Halmeu. This is an educational effort, and the principals of the school of Givat Olga did well in accepting upon themselves the mission to instill knowledge of the Holocaust in the students. They did well in that here, specifically in Givat Olga where most of the students are immigrants from North America or natives of Israel, they found it appropriate to perpetuate the memories of these holy communities.

To these children, who know very little about that Diaspora, a holy duty falls upon the nation of Israel and we among them to “remember and not to forget”[1] this Holocaust. There is a unique meaning to these words - before you dear students - so that there will never again be such a terrible and frightful period as there was during the murder of more than a million children whose blood was spilled like water throughout all the pathways of Europe, as they were forcefully separated from their mothers and torn to pieces before their eyes.

These are the chapters of the worst atrocities in all of human history. Many of them went to their deaths with the words of “Shema Yisrael Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echad” [Hear oh Israel, the L-rd our G-d, the L-rd is one] on their lips.

It has now been 23 years since the Nazi troops trampled over the soil of Hungary from Mary 19th until the end of June -- a period not more than three months - and succeeded in murdering 80% of Hungarian Jewry, including all the children.

We recite in a prayer: Strangers have said that there is no chance or hope, that we went like sheep to slaughter, to be murdered and killed[2]. Nevertheless, all those who went commanded us to continue with life so that we would be able to tell the future generations that which must not be forgotten.

Therefore, dear children, it is your duty as Jews and Israelis to remember, for the State of Israel arose over their graves.

It is your duty to recall it on appropriate days as a memorial monument - a living memorial, for no such monuments were erected in the vale of murder. May it be His will that we will be the generation that continues the Jewish traditions, and let us be a monument of witness to coming generations for those who commanded life to us.

Translator's Footnotes

  1. A reference to the Biblical commandment of remembering the war with Amalek.Return
  2. A section of the longer version of the Tachanun prayer that is recited on Mondays and Thursdays. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TachanunReturn


[Page 12]

Address by Mr. Shlomo Zimrony,
Representative of the Community of Klausenberg

With your permission, and with the permission of the Rabbi of Hadera, the vice mayor of the city Mr. Kostlitz, representatives of the Ministry of Education, honored invited guest, and last but not least, the children of Israel, the dear children of Hadera. I have been given the task of saying a few words in the name of the Organization of Klausenberg Natives who are located here in Israel. The chairman of the organization Mr. David Mozes, Mrs. Esther Weisberg the wife of the late Dr. Chaim Weisberg, Engineer Aharon Elbaum, the daughter of Rabbi Eliahu Klein, and others are present with us today.

You did a great deed by perpetuating the memory of this splendid community, the community of Klausenberg, of which we are the survivors. The community of Klausenberg - one of the oldest and most splendid communities of Hungarian Jewry in general, and in Transylvanian Jewry in particular - in which some of the rabbinical giants of the generation lived. Rabbi Hillel Lichtenstein, who was known in the Jewish world of Hillel of Kolomyja, was the first rabbi of Klausenberg; Rabbi Feivish Fishman who later became the Maggid of Pressburg during the time of the Chatam Sofer; and later Rabbi Avraham Glazner the son of the daughter of the Chatam Sofer; Rabbi Moshe Shmuel Glazner; and the final rabbi of Klausenberg Rabbi Akiva Glazner of blessed memory.

It was a city of Torah and secular learning. From one side, there were Yeshivas and Torah institutions, and from the other side, institutions of knowledge, the first Hebrew Gymnasium in Transylvania, the religious high school of the community, institutions of Torah and benevolence, which once were and are no longer.

During the time that I witnessed the era that is being presented here, I recalled the wonderful legend, one of the legends of destruction by the prophet Jeremiah. After the destruction, the prophet wandered around the ruins of Jerusalem, saw the children of Israel who had been killed - and as the legend states -- … he lifted his hands heavenward and shouted, “Master of the World, are you destroying the remnant of Israel?” When I witnessed that era of the Mosheles and Mireles, Jewish children, children of Klausenberg, it was as if they too, during the time of destruction in the Holocaust, lifted their arms heavenward and shouted: Master of the World, are you destroying the remnant of Israel? However in his Great Mercy, the Master of the Universe told the destroyer - Stop! And here we are continuing our life in the Land of Israel. You, the dear children of Hadera, congratulations to you, and congratulations to your principal, a resident of our city, in that you are perpetuating the name of this splendid community and perpetuating the names of the dear Jewish children who once were and are no more -for they were slaughtered. May you have increased strength! May the Source of Blessings bless you.


[Page 13]

Address of Mr. Menachem Carmi,
Representative of the Natives of Halmeu

As one of the survivors of Halmeu, I have come to greet you in my name and in the name of the rest of the Halmeu natives who, for all sorts of reasons, were unable to come here tonight.

I express appreciation and reverence. Many thanks to you for taking this great task upon yourselves. It will be a special merit to you that you have taken it upon yourselves to memorialize specifically the community of Halmeu, which was a holy community in the full sense of the word. It had approximately 350 Jewish families, the vast majority being Sabbath observers. From among all those families, there were perhaps two or three who did not observe the Sabbath. Education took place in the cheders and Yeshivas, just as it was in the times when everything was pure and holy.

I thank you in my name, and in the name of the Halmeu natives.


[Page 14]

The Community of Halmeu

By Rachel Schwartz, Grade 8 [1]

It was a town with a well-known holy community
In which the sounds of Torah were never silent.

Righteous Jews, giant in spirit and Torah,
“And you shall meditate upon it”[2], is dearer to them than gold and all merchandise.

It has a very successful Yeshiva and Beis Midrash [study hall]
That hosted Torah for the lads.

Personalities, sages, local righteous people,
Including Rabbi Shlomo Klein, of blessed memory.

Each night, “Tikkun Chatzot[3] was recited in your gates
And awaiting the Messiah was at the top of all thoughts.

The staff and the shofar by one's bed,
So that one could be the first to go out to greet him.

Reb Baruch Hendler who loves reproof
And Reb Shlomo Zalman Deskel of the great ones of the spirit.

Reb Yankel Mitelman runs to the mikva [ritual bath] in the middle of the night
With his mouth reciting sections of Talmudic discussions.

And Reb David Levi enwrapped in his Tallis and Tefillin
Dedicated fully to studying Kabbalah and Zohar.

Even the simple Jew who works for his livelihood
Rejoices in the synagogue in the evening as he studies his Mishna.

Who will be first to recite Psalms in the morning?
A worker in the wine cellar – my Uncle Shimon.

Working with the sweat of his brow and satisfied with the small amount he has
To teach his son Torah – Grandfather Zeev Wolf the tailor.

His wife – a woman of valor – never ceases toiling
So that the husband can sit and study.

The modest mothers read “Tzena Urena[4] on Sabbaths,
Doing charitable works discretely, including my Aunt Rachel Henia.

My dear grandmothers Reizel and Feiga did not have the benefit of a Jewish burial
May G-d remember them positively before the Throne of Honor.

On the day of the giving of the Torah, “Shma Yisrael” was on their lips[5]
They were murdered in Auschwitz, and their ashes were scattered.

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The sages, the righteous ones, the simple folk:
To where did they disappear, where are they all?

And why was thus the fate
Of the common folk and the sages of the nation?

“Why” is a question that irks and accuses;
A question that has no answer at all.

Why, oh L-rd, G-d, oh why
Why does the world continue to be so calm?

The son shines, rises, and brightens.
The flowers bloom, and the trees sprout in the town

Among the ruins and destruction in the place
And contrasts with the ugliness of the terrible deed.

Indeed, much has already been written, and will be written about the horrible tragedy.
We among them – we will continue on, and will not forget that evil.

We must not forget, but rather remember and remind.
And we will glorify and magnify the names of our dear martyrs.


Translator's Footnotes

  1. This composition, as well as that on page 16, is a poem, with a different rhyme in every pair of lines. I did not preserve the rhyme in the translations.Return
  2. From Joshua 1:8. “And you shall meditate upon it [i.e. the Torah] day and night.”Return
  3. An optional private prayer service recited at midnight. It is recited generally only by very pious people and rarely recited these days, lamenting the destruction of the temples.Return
  4. A commentary on the Torah written especially for women.Return
  5. Referring to Shavuot, the 6th of Sivan. The May-June timeframe surrounding Shavuot 1944 marked the period of mass deportations of Hungarian Jewry.Return


[Page 16]

Societal Life in Halmeu

By Rachel Schwartz, Grade 8

He led his flock with righteousness,
The rabbi, Rabbi Eliahu Klein, the Tzadik.

Strong in his knowledge, showing no favoritism to any person
A wealthy person was the same as someone with hard luck.

On Rosh Hashanah, as he called out the shofar blasts,
He moved the hearts, and brought the souls to repentance.

His son and heir, Rabbi Yaakov Shalom Klein,
Who served as a halachic decisor and rabbinical judge for the people,

Led the large, honorable Yeshiva
That stood in splendor in the center of town.

His sermons spellbound the audience of listeners.
His pleasant appearance and charisma externals added to the ambience.

A poor man, lacking in everything, who had pride and was embarrassed to solicit from door to door
Would not be forgotten or abandoned in Halmeu, for “all Israel are brothers.”

There was an abundance of charitable institutions.
Every householder was naturally inclined,

To give and donate, either to the “Ozer Dalim” [helpers of the poor] organization
To support a poor family with many children

Or to help an orphaned bride who had come of age
With nobody to provide for the wedding expenses.

Of course the “Hachnasat Kalla” [Assistance for Brides] organization was active,
With donations; with the help of the citizens and G-d.

And if news spread in town that somebody had passed away
With nobody at all to take care of the funeral,

For the person had no relative or kin
And was poor within the Jewish people,

He would not be cast off and left without burial
For the members of the “Chevra Kadisha” would come to his aid.

Thus was life in the city, founded upon
Assistance to anyone in need without nitpicking over principles.

Life there was indeed calm and lovely.
Good and simple – the children, women and men

Are now hidden away and have disappeared. Why did such a decree fall upon them?
And nothing is left for us other than to weep and cry out for what was lost!!

[unnumbered page following 16]

From the Children's compositions

 

Remember
And do not forget

 


[Page 17]

A Collection of Student Compositions Reflecting
on the Commemoration Ceremony of the Communities

We have kindled memorial candles to recall the Jews who were murdered in sanctification of the Divine name. Sad songs that move the heart are sung in choirs, to the point that tears flow from my eyes. The community of participants, we students, have accepted upon ourselves to follow the good and straight path of the martyrs.
Yafa Chamish
 
The performance was so sad that I began to weep, and the entire audience wept with me.
Ruth Lavie
 
The program of commemoration brought us to great emotion. Tears flowed from our eyes over the loss of innocent Jews who were taken like sheep to the slaughter with no savior.
Rafael Derosh
 
We came to the synagogue on the day of the ceremony dressed in festive garb, and we welcomed the guests in a pleasant manner. When the guests heard the program, they burst out crying, for they felt everything that they had been through.
Tova Levi
 
It was moving to hear how Mirele was crying and screaming “I am hungry,” and her brother comforted her. The performances brought out the emotions in the entire audience. Boys, girls, male and female teachers all wept.
Rivka Rubin
 
When we left the place of the commemoration, our heart was full of pain and agony for the annihilated communities. May G-d avenge their blood.
Yosef Tnemi
 
When they saw the ceremony, some members of the audience remembered what they had endured, and wept bitterly and with broken hearts.
Yigal


[Page 18]

Yizkor…A prayer

May G-d remember the martyrs of Halmeu, Turcz, and the district,
Fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, youths and children,
Who were murdered, burned, drowned, tortured to death,
Shot, and buried alive in sanctification of the divine Name.

Our holy rabbi, Rabbi Yaakov Shalom of holy blessed memory, the head of the rabbinical court of the holy community of Halmeu
And our rabbi, Rabbi Avraham Shalom Yerucham Friedman of holy blessed memory, the head of the rabbinical court of Turcz.

May G-d remember the synagogues and holy books,
The Yeshivas with their students, the Talmud Torah schools,
And the schools that were destroyed, and the sounds of Torah that were silenced therein.

May G-d remember all of the dear victims – May G-d avenge their blood!

May their souls be bound in the bonds of life.


A Prayer

Merciful father who dwells on high
With his vast mercy, may he recall with mercy
The pious, upright and pure ones, holy communities
That gave their lives in sanctification of the Divine Name.
Beloved and pleasant during their lives, and
Not separated in their deaths. Lighter than eagles, and stronger than lions,[1]
To do the will of their Creator and the wish of their Rock.
May our G-d remember them positively, along with the rest of the righteous people
Of the world, and may He avenge the spilled blood of His servants, as is written
In the Torah of Moses the man of G-d: Sing, oh nations,
About His people, for He avenged the blood of His servants, and returned vengeance
To his enemies, and made atonement for the land of His people[2]

(From the prayer book)

[unnumbered page following 18]

 

In Memory of the Martyrs of Halmeu, Turcz, and the District

 


Translator's Footnotes

  1. From the elegy of David over the deaths of Saul and Jonathan. II Samuel 1:23.Return
  2. Deuteronomy 32:43.Return


[Page 18a]

The letter of Rabbi Yeshayahu Barkai

The former principal of the M”D School, and today serving
as a rabbi and principal in a school in Boston, United States.

Blessed is G-d, 7 Adar, 5729 (1969)

To the honor of
My friend from back then, the great scholar, and man of many activities.
Mr. Yehuda Schwartz, the principal of the 44th Yavneh School
Hadera

How broad is my heart, and my horn is raised to G-d, when I see the memorial book of the martyrs of Klausenberg, and the copy of the Memorial Book of Martyrs of Halmeu, which is currently at the publishers. My eyes lit up as I perused them, with the feeling of “Praise G-d for He is good.” It was the appropriate thing to publish this memorial book in memory of those people and their deeds. Their memory is in honor of those who follow and continue the tradition in glory, as they realize the values of Israel in a practical fashion.

This fine gift that you worked upon for the memory and elevation of the pure, clean souls of our Jewish brethren from our native town of the holy community of Halmeu, may G-d protect it; men, women and children who perished en masse and with cruel wrath at the impure hands of the Nazi monster in Europe; with the smoke of the ovens ascending from the altar – will serve as a source of support and strength for those downtrodden and despairing of the times. Therefore, may your hands be strengthened in all that you do, and may you succeed in raising the horn of Israel and its Torah.

In the merit of this holy memory, may G-d recall their sacrifice and repair the breach of His nation, returning the hearts of fathers to children and the hearts of children to their fathers[1], with the full redemption and the rebuilding of our source of splendor, the Holy Temple, speedily in our day, Amen.

With friendship and great honor

Yeshayahu Barkai


Translator's Footnote

  1. Malachi 3:24.Return


[Page 19]

From the words of the eulogy delivered by the principal of the commemorating school,
Yehuda Schwartz, on the memorial day of the community in the year 5727 (1967)
in the Moshav Zekeinim Synagogue in Tel Aviv.

Commemorating the Community – How?

The holy mission of “remember and do not forget” is imposed upon our generation. This is one of the commandments that the Torah commands us at the dawn of our nationhood, and this is one of the commandments that applies to us anew today. Our generation, the generation of the Holocaust, is aging, and the fear exists that we did not succeed in instilling the memory of our martyrs to our sons and daughters in such a way that it will continue to live with them, so that they, in time, will continue to perpetuate their memory to the succeeding generation.

In the wake of the motto of the committee to commemorate the communities by the Ministry of Education – meaning: that in the name of the thousands of Jewish communities that were wiped out, thousands of schools in Israel will arise and set up a name and memorial for these communities – the school under my leadership, the 44th Yavneh School of Hadera, has decided to perpetuate the communities of Koloszvar and Halmeu. We conducted the commemoration ceremony in our school with the participation of members of the organization two weeks before Passover.

You might ask, how is it possible to commemorate the communities of Koloszvar and Halmeu? Are we able to commemorate a community that was annihilated?!

We do not have the power to place flesh and sinews upon the dry bones, which are also non-existent, but we can preserve their memory by publishing a Yizkor Book. We can present the personalities of those that are gone, we can bring to life the religious and cultural realities of the Halmeu community, learn about the educational institutions, Yeshivas and cheders in the town. We are able to describe the characters of the worshippers in the synagogues and study halls, and describe the charitable institutions of the town.

It is not our intention to present a comprehensive picture of the community of Halmeu during its various eras, with its many variegated activities. This task must be done by experts.

[Page 20]

In this Yizkor Book, we intend to illustrate, in brief, various prominent events and deeds from the distant and near past, in order to erect a memorial to the community and draw close the hearts of our children to this splendid community. This task can be performed through your hands and your children's hands. Tell them about the eternal values that were forged in Halmeu. Describe the splendid life that was lost. Your children will then write their compositions. Please also bring your children to the annual memorial days of the community. We will thereby include them to the large living, emotional family of Halmeu natives, and we will speedily be able to draw near “the hearts of fathers to children, and the hearts of children to their fathers.”

With the publication of the Yizkor Book, we wish to declare “a week of memorializing the community” at the school. We will study about the community in an intensive fashion. We will conclude the week with a quiz and competition between the classes in the presence of members of the organization, who will distribute the prizes to those who excel from the fund that was set up for such.

Aside from erecting a monument in memory of the community, our plans include opening a synagogue for youth, with a memorial room, a holy ark, and a Torah scroll in memory of the martyrs.

[first unnumbered page following 20]

 
The Holy Ark [Aron Hakodesh] in the “Yavne” synagogue in Hadera,
in memory of the Holy Communities Klausenburg [Cluj] and Halmin [Halmeu]

 

Yehuda Schwartz
Editor of the book


[Second unnumbered page following 20]

 

When the Jews of Hungary were taken to Auschwitz…

About the community

 

[Third unnumbered page following 20]


To perpetuate the memory of our martyrs, and to elevate the souls of the community members who were murdered in sanctification of the Divine Name in the death camps, in the ovens of Auschwitz-Birkenau, and in the labor camps.

Oh, would it be that my head was full of waters, and my eyes were a source of tears, I would weep day and night over the victims of the daughter of my nation.[1]

May G-d avenge their blood.

 

Personalities and Images of the Community

 


Translator's Footnotes

  1. Jeremiah 8:23. Haphtarah of Tisha Be'Av.Return

[Fourth unnumbered page following 20]

This book was printed thanks to the graceful donation of 500 Israeli Pounds by the chairman of the Association of Former Residents of Halmin, Mr. Menachem Traub-Karmi and his family Zvi, Ilana, Menashe, Chaia and Dror, to the memory of their parents, may God avenge their blood.
 
Their father R'Gavriel Traub z”l

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